TREE HOUSE HUMANE SOCIETY

Every cat thrives.

Chicago, IL   |  www.treehouseanimals.org

Mission

We empower communities of caregivers to protect, nurture, and support new solutions so no cat suffers. We envision a world in which every cat thrives.

Ruling year info

1975

Executive Director

Raissa Allaire

Main address

7225 N. Western Avenue

Chicago, IL 60645 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Tree House Animal Foundation

EIN

23-7444825

NTEE code info

Animal Protection and Welfare (includes Humane Societies and SPCAs) (D20)

Veterinary Services (D40)

Animal Training, Behavior (D61)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2020, 2019 and 2018.
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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

In communities throughout Chicago, a lack of resources and affordable options means that too many cats go without necessary care. Hundreds of thousands of unowned cats in the city face a full spectrum of needs – from stray or abandoned cats in need of loving homes, to feral cats facing suffering and euthanasia due to overpopulation. At the same time, many households struggle to provide veterinary care for their pets due to financial stress and other barriers. Tree House’s holistic programming provides quality, affordable care for pets, connects pets to nurturing homes, and humanely manages outdoor cat populations to reduce the number of feral cats on the street. Through a targeted, data-driven approach, we serve the Chicago communities that need it most and address the health inequities experienced by the animals and communities we serve.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Community Cats

Our Community Cats program builds healthier communities by findinding long-term living solutions for outdoor cats. Through our Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR) efforts which began in 2005, we have established over 1,000 feral cat colonies that are managed by trained, registered caretakers and home to more than 4,000 outdoor cats. By spearheading spay and neuter efforts, raising community awareness, and providing effective cat colony management, we have not only reduced feral cat overpopulation but also improved the quality of life for thousands of outdoor cats.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Tree House places over 1,000 cats in safe, nurturing homes each year. While awaiting adoption, cats live in colonies of six to eight cats in sun-filled rooms with multiple perches, ample food and water, toys and access to an enclosed patio area. All cats receive comprehensive veterinary care, including neutering, microchipping, and vaccinations, as well as treatment of any known health issues from our in-house veterinary clinic. We support new cat owners throughout the adoption process to ensure the best possible outcome. Prior to adoption we provide counseling around integrating a new pet into the home and follow up at one week and one month after the adoption.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

In April of 2021 Tree House launched the Veterinary Wellness Center (VWC), a state-of-the-art facility providing affordable spay and neuter surgery as well as preventative wellness care for pets, including cats and dogs. The VWC is open to the public and is the only low-cost facility of its kind within a 10-mile radius, addressing a longstanding community need. In 2022, its first full year in operation, the Veterinary Wellness Center will serve over 5,300 owned pets and 600 free-roaming cats.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Adults
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of released animals

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Community Cats

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Decreasing

Context Notes

YTD Total # of community cats in managed colonies.

Number of animals rehomed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Adoption

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Total Adoptions & Placements

Average number of days of shelter stay for animals

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Adoption

Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success

Decreasing

Number of animals vaccinated

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Veterinary Wellness Center

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Wellness exams and preventative vaccinations of owned pets via our Veterinary Wellness Center

Number of animals spayed and neutered

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Veterinary Wellness Center

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Includes animals who are resident Tree House cats who get adopted, owned pets, and TNR/community cats.

Number of sheltered animals

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults

Related Program

Adoption

Type of Metric

Context - describing the issue we work on

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Animals transferred into Tree House's care from local, state and other municipalities -- intake numbers. Does not include community cats and/or animals served through the Veterinary Wellness Center.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Tree House's three-year strategic plan represents our commitment to work collaboratively with our partners and go beyond our shelter walls to engage our communities. In addition, the plan builds on the successes of our previous strategic initiatives and leverages the innovation spirit and the collective strengths of our program models, leadership, and dedicated supporters.

Over the course of this plan, we will positively impact the lives of nearly 20,000 animals, advance as a resource for
feline care, and pursue innovative and quality programs that will shape the future of animal welfare in Chicagoland.
Key highlights include:
• Increased community engagement and outreach in service deserts in Chicago's west and south sides.
• Piloting of new vet service for sick/injured pets.
• Enhanced collaboration and coordination of stakeholders in the caring and managing community cats
• Capacity-building priorities focused on talent, data, financial resilience, and diversity, equity and inclusion to
ensure Tree House continues to be a thriving organization.
We value our partnership with you. We invite you to empower our communities through pets and progressive
practices and further our vision of every cat thrives.

PURSUING EXCELLENCE THROUGH COMMUNITY
As we prepare for our next 50 years, we are excited to invest in everything that’s made Tree House great for the last 50: community, innovation, and resilience.

These strategic priorities are only the surface, and reflect the exciting future of the next three years.

We have four major strategic priorities for the next three years.

EXPAND ACCESS TO CARE
Focusing on innovation, quality, and sustainable growth, Tree House intends to expand its commitment to excellent, progressive services — specializing in feline care. We will pursue growth opportunities in underserved communities. We will grow our service offerings in response to the needs and health inequities experienced by the pets and the communities we serve.

ENGAGE OUR COMMUNITIES
To set the stage for continued growth and innovation, we will use the lens of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) to guide how we work, interact and engage. We will embed DEI principles into our organization through education and training, more transparent and equitable policies, and inclusive behaviors. We will develop stronger connections in the communities we serve, expanding our community base, and engaging with more diverse partners.

HIGH-PERFORMING CULTURE
The talents, passion, and compassion of Tree House’s workforce constitute its most valued resource. With emphasis on both new employees and existing employees, the enhancement of systems to attract, retain, and support talent and create high-performing teams using data effectively will be prioritized over the next three years. We aim to be a workplace of choice.

BUILD FINANCIAL RESILIENCE
We will strengthen our financial capacity over the long term and champion proven strategies of thriving organizations — including sound investment and reserve policies and multi-year planning. Revenue streams will be balanced, diverse and sophisticated. Services and programs will be evaluated based on the dual bottom line of impact and finances. We are committed to embedding financial data in program discussions and decision-making.

Tree House Humane Society began in 1971 as a volunteer-run effort to provide food and shelter for cats and dogs, operating out of a single-family home on Chicago’s north side. Since that time, we have grown into a leader in animal welfare and a trusted resource for communities of caregivers. We were one of the first cageless humane societies and earliest organizations using Trap-Neuter-Return strategies to control feral cat populations, rather than euthanasia. Over the last 50 years we have found homes for over 35,000 cats, performed over 44,000 spay/neuter and other life-saving surgeries and cared for over 4,000 community cats.

INNNOVATION IS IN OUR DNA
We started 50 years ago as a pioneer in the field of animal welfare. That’s our history, and our future. Since those early days, we’ve revolutionized life for the cats who share our community—and beyond. This year, we’ll open our doors to even more animals with our Veterinary Wellness Center.

Our Community Cats and Cats at Work programs are poised to grow exponentially, and we’re working on making our adoption processes even more accessible and educational.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM PREVIOUS PLAN
Tree House Humane Society enters our new strategic plan in an era of incredible growth and
change.
Following are highlights from our previous strategic plan for fiscal years 2019-2021:
• Tripled our vet care capacity to serve the number of animals through the Tree House
Veterinary Wellness Center and our lifesaving work continued to grow in key areas
during the pandemic.
• Focused on strengthening our board by incorporating best practices in our board work.
• Improved our financial systems and met our benchmarks including creating short- and
long-term reserves.
• Served as a founding member of a Chicago metro coalition focused on improving the
quality of life for Chicagoland animals.
• Launched a new brand identity and website and are celebrating our 50th anniversary --
a launching pad to reaffirm and grow our brand.
• Continued to move the innovation needle. Our work on open adoptions and practices
on adoptions of FeLV+ cats via our catfe continues to be showcased in animal welfare
circles. And with the pandemic came the need to pivot and change quickly -- from
virtual adoptions and curbside services to deploying new tools and processes.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Pet ownership crosses all geographic, racial and socioeconomic boundaries, but access to information and services does not. Institutional bias and systemic inequality have impacted pets in ways not realized and there is a great need in our field to understand and deepen the connection between social, racial, and economic justice and animal welfare. In 2021, we opened the Tree House Veterinary Wellness Center in West Rogers Park to offer affordable vet care and help keep families together.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    We have built in surveys or ways to obtain feedback in our visitor and client experiences. Recently, feedback from a resident survey in a community we serve has provided us with information to explore opportunities to better serve the community with new types of delivery program models.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    We have more work to do in incorporating feedback to help inform and shape our services. We have a growth and learning mindset and recognize that we must go beyond our shelter walls to serve pets and the families who love them effectively.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, It is difficult to identify actionable feedback,

Financials

TREE HOUSE HUMANE SOCIETY
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

TREE HOUSE HUMANE SOCIETY

Board of directors
as of 2/2/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Dr. Ross Mahowald

My Neighborhood Vet

Term: 2020 - 2022

Colleen Currigan

Cat Hospital of Chicago

Steve Homrich

American Commercial Bank & Trust

Ginger Dusek

Accenture

Jilliann Smith

Merrick

Don Souhrada

Ter Molen Watkins & Brandt

Nicole Brown

Daspin & Aument LLP

Kat Hindmand

Walter Payton High School

Ann Kaplan-Perkins

City of Chicago

Paul Legac

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Cody England

Baird

Matthew Dickerson

Substantial Digital

Eliza Wicher

Groupon

Dr. Colleen Currigan

VCA Cat Hospital

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 02/02/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Asian American/Pacific Islanders/Asian
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 02/02/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.